• ssu
    8.3k
    Cardboard drones likely aren't as visible in radar as the ones made out of metal or plastic.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Russian forces near Norway at '20% or less' than before Ukraine war, Norway's armed-forces chief says
    — Gwladys Fouche, Sabine Siebold, Nick Macfie · Reuters · Sep 16, 2023
    On our border, on the Russian border, there is maybe 20% or less (Russian) forces left than it used to be before Feb. 24, 2022. If he believed that we were threatening Russia, he couldn't have moved on his troops to Ukraine to fight the war there. Russia knows NATO is not a threat because we are not intending to attack them. Otherwise they would have responded completely different to the accession of Finland. They have talked about it, but they haven't in physical terms.Eirik Kristoffersen

    Has come up before.

    Russia threatens ‘military and political consequences’ if Finland, Sweden try joining NATO (Feb 25, 2022) → Russian Official Warns Finland, Sweden Against Joining NATO (Mar 12, 2022) → Ukraine War: Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membership (Apr 11, 2022) → Russia warns of nuclear deployment if Sweden, Finland join NATO (Apr 14, 2022) → Russia threatens ‘retaliatory steps’ if Finland joins NATO (May 12, 2022) → Putin sees no threat from NATO expansion, warns against military build-up (May 16, 2022) → Putin says Finland and Sweden can 'go ahead' and join NATO but warned the countries against hosting the alliance's 'military contingents and infrastructure' (Jun 30, 2022).

    Ukrainian NATO membership would primarily mean limiting Putin's Russia's military to do whatever, including land-grab (Jul 3, 2022; Oct 19, 2022).

    Russia’s Stripped Its Western Borders to Feed the Fight in Ukraine (Robbie Gramer, Jack Detsch · Foreign Policy · Sep 28, 2022). Russia’s Reindeer Brigade Is Fighting For Its Survival In Southern Ukraine (David Axe · Forbes · Oct 7, 2022). (Is the Kremlin neglecting the CSTO (Jan 11, 2023)? Armenia (Gabriel Gavin · POLITICO · Sep 13, 2023)?)

    If Putin's Russia were to assimilate a fifth of Ukraine, then their NATO-phobic argument would continue to apply to the remaining four-fifths of Ukraine just the same. If Putin's Russia was to assimilate all of Ukraine, then Putin's logic could equally be raised vice versa by Moldova Poland Romania Hungary Slovakia (Oct 13, 2022; Nov 26, 2022), and hence the EU. Open-ended, perpetual.

    As mentioned before, NATO isn't that dire existential threat to the world's largest country. Buying into that verges a bit on gullibility. Conversely, grabbing that fifth of Ukraine could well make a difference to the Kremlin's geo-political-military power (and perhaps satisfy Putin (Sep 2016; May 2020)).
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Basically there hasn't been any response to Finland and Sweden (when the time comes) joining NATO. And yes, it's been quite empty on the other side of the border, even if naturally Russia has stated it will increase it's forces on the Finnish border. Hence now, luckily for us Finns, it's been a No Action Talk Only -response from Putin.

    Finnish military analysts have estimated that basically Russia needs a decade to recover from the war. There is absolutely no denying that Russia has lost huge amounts of equipment and manpower. Of course putting all the resources to serve the military-industrial complex and increase arms production is totally possible for Russia as it's a political choice, yet that has a huge effect on the welfare of Russian people. And we shouldn't forget that when Putin came into power, the Russian armed forces were a catastrophe, basically a shell of the Soviet Armed forces where basically only the strategic rocket forces ad been taken care of. It took 20 years and a higher oil price for Putin do something about it. And now he is in a war, hence shouldn't underestimate the Russians:

    (Business Insider, Sep 14th 2023) Before the country invaded Ukraine, a senior Western defense official told The Times that Russia could make 100 tanks a year; now they're averaging 200.

    Western officials told the outlet that Russia is on track to manufacture two million artillery shells a year, which is twice as many as Western intelligence originally estimated it could make before the war.

    Can Russia economically do it? Here we should remember that actually a nation going on a war footing (without it's infrastructure and cities being bombed to rubble) makes economic indicators go haywire. For example during WW2, during a time when rationing was introduced to Americans, manufacturing of private cars was stopped etc, the economy just skyrocketed (with the debt also).

    BigL-p69.jpg

    Even if GNP is not a common indicator, that the total output of goods and services OVER DOUBLED in six years (and then came off a cliff) tells just why economists usually start from 1946 and never produce longer statistics that include wartime to peacetime.

    Of course Western defense spending has gone up. I think in Finland the defense spending has grown about 45% and reservists are training such size and intensity never seen before, actually. And I don't think Finland isn't the biggest here, Poland has a massive weapons procurement plan underway.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    , as to a Putinian future trajectory, we can add their propaganda indoctrination oppression efforts (has come up before), which all taken together looks kind of Cold War'ish, not peace-friendly — regress.

    Putin says Russia developing weapons based on ‘new physical principles’
    — Tuqa Khalid · Al Arabiya · Sep 12, 2023

    John Brennan opines (re Trump) ...

    Putin wants to salvage Ukraine loss by electing Trump: former CIA director
    — Sarah K Burris · Raw Story · Sep 12, 2023

    Ekaterina Schulmann opines ...

    Russian analyst predicts controversial decision by Putin post-election
    — Henrik R · dagens.com · Sep 16, 2023
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Difficulties for Ukraine, division, incidentally good news for the Kremlin:

    'Just can't sell': Ukraine harvests sunflowers as war blocks ports
    — France 24 / AFP · Sep 18, 2023
    Ukraine says it will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over food import bans
    — Tom Balmforth, Pavel Polityuk, Anna Wlodarczuk-Semczuk, Anna Pruchnicka, Timothy Heritage · Reuters · Sep 18, 2023
    Farmers across Bulgaria protest against Ukrainian grain as EU divide grows
    — Valentina Petrova, Stephen McGrath · AP · Sep 18, 2023

    Meanwhile, the regress continues in Russia:

    Human rights in Russia have 'significantly deteriorated' since war - UN expert
    — Emma Farge, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Rachel More, Gareth Jones · Reuters · Sep 18, 2023
    Human rights in Russia have ‘significantly’ worsened since Ukraine war began, UN-backed expert says
    — AP · Sep 18, 2023

    :chin: well, not unheard of, part of a modus operandi ...

    A sneaky move at a Kremlin meeting may show why Putin took his time in eliminating Prigozhin
    — Paul Iddon · Business Insider · Sep 17, 2023
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Whatever happened to that offensive, though?
  • neomac
    1.3k
    "Ukraine’s special services ‘likely’ behind strikes on Wagner-backed forces in Sudan, a Ukrainian military source says" :chin:
    https://edition.cnn.com/2023/09/19/africa/ukraine-military-sudan-wagner-cmd-intl/index.html
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Whatever happened to that offensive, though?Tzeentch
    The Russian offensive? Well, that was only the small advances that Wagner made. Nothing else. :wink:

    And the Ukrainian counter-offensive? Going as anything would go without an air arm / air superiority. The whole "offensive" is more of Western media expectations (as last year Ukraine could gain a lot of ground). Now Ukrainians are facing deep entrenched lines from the Black Sea up to the northern border between Ukraine and Russia. And Russia still enjoys an advantage in artillery, even if the amount of munitions they use has gone down dramatically. That means that Ukrainians would be crazy if they made a head on assault on the defensive line with concentrated large forces. Hence it's a war of attrition.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Poland will stop giving arms to Ukraine as the two countries have a disagreement over grain. Polish farmers fear what cheap Ukrainian grain will do to their livelyhood and there's elections coming, so the two countries are now bickering at each other. Poland I think is the 4th largest contributor of arms to Ukraine and has to it's size made the biggest contribution to Ukraine. They have given a lot of T-72 tanks to Ukraine, for example.

    Poland will stop providing weapons to Ukraine as dispute over grain imports deepens
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    And the Ukrainian counter-offensive? Going as anything would go without an air arm / air superiority. The whole "offensive" is more of Western media expectations (as last year Ukraine could gain a lot of ground). Now Ukrainians are facing deep entrenched lines from the Black Sea up to the northern border between Ukraine and Russia. And Russia still enjoys an advantage in artillery, even if the amount of munitions they use has gone down dramatically. That means that Ukrainians would be crazy if they made a head on assault on the defensive line with concentrated large forces. Hence it's a war of attrition.ssu

    So can we conclude Ukraine taking back Crimea is a pipedream?

    I'm just wondering if this failed offensive is what will break the western media bubble, or if people in the West will keep puffing copium until there's not a single Ukrainian man left to fulfill their fantasies.
  • Jabberwock
    334
    That is rather misleading. Poland has stopped providing weapons to Ukraine some time ago, as it has nothing left to give. It was a crucial donator in the beginning of the war, as it had ready stockpiles of old Soviet weapons which Ukrainians knew (so they did not require training). Now Poland cannot offer much as it has no decommissioned NATO equipment.

    One additional note: right now Poland supplies new armaments produced in Poland (mostly ammo), those supplies are still ongoing and will not be stopped.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    So can we conclude Ukraine taking back Crimea is a pipedream?Tzeentch
    Seems you are eager to jump to conclusions, especially to the failure of Ukrainian actions. Yet I don't think the will of the Ukrainians to continue the fight has eroded. This war will continue on.

    or if people in the West will keep puffing copium until there's not a single Ukrainian man left to fulfill their fantasies.Tzeentch
    How about Russia? Putin doesn't want to make another mobilization of reservists. And if Wagner PMC itself said that it had lost over 20 000 killed in Bakhmut, the death toll is high on the Russian side too. Hence I wouldn't jump into conclusions yet how this war will end.

    What can be concluded is that with the West continuing backing Ukraine, Russia cannot win. And without Western backing, Ukraine cannot win.

    One additional note: right now Poland supplies new armaments produced in Poland (mostly ammo), those supplies are still ongoing and will not be stopped.Jabberwock
    Interesting. Can you give references?
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Define what 'Ukraine winning' looks like, and then explain how wasting thousands of lives on ill-advised offensives brings us closer to that end state.
  • Paine
    2.2k

    Who is the "us" in this statement?
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Whatever happened to that offensive, though?Tzeentch

    Tripping minefields?

    ↪ssu Define what 'Ukraine winning' looks like, and then explain how wasting thousands of lives on ill-advised offensives brings us closer to that end state.Tzeentch

    With a bit of luck, we're not talking an "end state", more like regress or progress, authoritarianism or democracy, etc. Ukraine and the UN have repeatedly said "No" to Putin's regressive Russia, to the bulging-by-land-grab of Putin's authoritarian Russia, etc. Can't have missed it.

    Ukraine, Russia and the tense UN encounter that almost happened — but didn’t (Jennifer Peltz · AP · Sep 20, 2023)
    You stop the war, and President Zelenskyy will not take the floor.Edi Rama

    (As an aside, Putin admits to Ukraine conducting a COUNTERoffensive, i.e. a response to the invasion by the Kremlin. Different from prior rhetoric, aside from the excuse.)

    I'm vaguely reminded of ...

    "If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends." (C-SPAN · Sep 22, 2022 · 11m:21s)
    Planned walkouts from Russia’s speech and the elephant in the room: Inside the UN General Assembly (Emin Pasha · The Independent · Sep 22, 2022)

    Nothing new though. Also, North Korea is worrisome, but maybe there's a bit of (unofficial) tension with the Kremlin?
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    With a bit of luck, we're not talking an "end state", more like regress or progress, authoritarianism or democracy, etc. Ukraine and the UN have repeatedly said "No" to Putin's regressive Russia, to the bulging-by-land-grab of Putin's authoritarian Russia, etc. Can't have missed it.jorndoe

    Right, so there's no plan. Just vacuous rhetoric with no sense of the human cost, which this offensive was a shining example of. This we already knew.

    (As an aside, Putin admits to Ukraine conducting a COUNTERoffensive, i.e. a response to the invasion by the Kremlin. Different from prior rhetoric, aside from the excuse.)jorndoe

    He'd be wrong. It was an offensive. Not a counteroffensive, since there was no Russian offensive to counter; that had already ceased months prior.

    It's just a buzzword now. It sounds flashy, and flashy sounding language might goad people into supporting senseless waste of human lives.

    Who is the "us" in this statement?Paine

    I'm talking from the West's perspective.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Define what 'Ukraine winning' looks like, and then explain how wasting thousands of lives on ill-advised offensives brings us closer to that end state.Tzeentch
    Why do you assume Ukrainian operations to be "ill-advised"? If you don't have air superiority and Russia still has a lot of artillery, large scale attacks on the Surovikin line would be foolish. Something like what was witnessed last year cannot happen because of the Surovikin lin. If you haven't noticed, it's basically small scale attacks and advances are small.
  • neomac
    1.3k
    Right, so there's no plan. Just vacuous rhetoric with no sense of the human cost, which this offensive was a shining example of. This we already knew.Tzeentch

    Yours is just vacuous rhetoric with no sense of human affairs. One can devise a plan and then revise it.
    There can be plans A B C D... Z and beyond. If there are plans, effectively made by political or military agents, it will be rational to not divulge them in public and to expect they won't be divulged. One can at best guess and, laymen or uninformed experts, can be wrong.
    It's not just the military point that is going to be relevant for our moral siding. Nor the Western propaganda, a good part of which is pro-Russian, like yours. The sense of human cost doesn't need to be assessed in military terms nor in terms of just human lives. You keep reasoning within the bubble of your non-shared assumptions. Even pro-Russian Russian analysts get the stakes MORE OBJECTIVELY than you ever could:
    On the home front
    Since the military conflict in Ukraine is not an all out war, the loser will not be the side who physically runs out of strength, but rather the one who loses the will to fight sooner. What is important here is a clear vision of victory and a clear strategy for achieving it.
    Russia initially had problems with this: The start came as a shock to everyone and just as suddenly turned into a protracted military conflict with a series of humiliating defeats.
    Russian society was able to withstand the blow last year and – albeit not immediately, only towards the end of the year – pulled itself together and prepared for a long and hard struggle. The conception of our victory is clear: We still need the demilitarization of Ukraine (a radical reduction of its army), neutral status for Kiev (and a mechanism to control it) and the recognition of some form of territorial changes. The latter, by the way, will be the most difficult legally; here – for the sake of international legitimacy – Jesuitical forms such as a 99-year lease are possible. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, on this point.
    Although this concept of victory has not been articulated, it is intuitively clear; the actions of the authorities at all levels do not contradict it; and society, although not very happy (only people who are not completely healthy enjoy armed conflicts), has rallied and is ready, if not to participate directly, then to support or at least tolerate it. All this will sooner or later produce results at the front – if the enemy does not respond with the same unity.

    https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/articles/counteroffensive-is-failing/

    Define what 'Ukraine winning' looks likeTzeentch

    At least, not making Russia win according to the Russian definition of "victory".
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Why do you assume Ukrainian operations to be "ill-advised"? If you don't have air superiority and Russia still has a lot of artillery, large scale attacks on the Surovikin line would be foolish. Something like what was witnessed last year cannot happen because of the Surovikin lin. If you haven't noticed, it's basically small scale attacks and advances are small.ssu

    The amount of preparation, manpower and materiel that goes into an offensive means that it must make some form of strategic impact. If it cannot do that, it's a waste. And Ukraine being in the position it is in cannot afford to waste anything.

    It was obviously a huge failure. Calling it 'small attacks and advances' is nonsense. To go on the offensive, you must first break through the enemy's defenses. This must be done as quickly and decisively as possible. The longer an offensive is stuck on the enemy's defenses, the more it suffers, and that seems to be what happened. (It's the point of defense-in-depth)

    Moreover, it gives the enemy time to adapt their defensive lines to account for any possible breakthrough, which would nullify any advances made.

    People were suggesting this offensive would go all the way to Melitopol. Now it's clear they won't be able to take Tokmak - the first village of some significance on the way there. Hardly anything new, of course. People have warned that this would be the predictable outcome long before the offensive even started. It's just tragic.

    The pressing question is, why did the West push Ukraine into this disaster? You suggested it was due to media pressure - I kind of doubt that, but if western media is dictating the Ukrainian war effort then things are even more dire than I thought.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    The amount of preparation, manpower and materiel that goes into an offensive means that it must make some form of strategic impact. If it cannot do that, it's a waste. And Ukraine being in the position it is in cannot afford to waste anything.Tzeentch
    It's a materiel battle, Tzeentch.

    And the forces that are put into not such huge, actually. Keeping the initiative is crucial. If you think that giving the initiative to the Russians would be helpful to the Ukrainians, you are wrong.

    . To go on the offensive, you must first break through the enemy's defenses. This must be done as quickly and decisively as possible.Tzeentch
    No. There are far more ways to defeat an enemy. You seem to have no idea how a materiel battle works.

    People were suggesting this offensive would go all the way to Melitopol. Now it's clear they won't be able to take Tokmak - the first village of some significance on the way there. Hardly anything new, of course. People have warned that this would be the predictable outcome long before the offensive even started. It's just tragic.Tzeentch
    To breach the Surovikin line Ukrainians should have a) air superiority and b) enough resources to go through fortified and mined defensive lines in depth. The US could do that in Kuwait after pummeling the Iraqi troops with air power on a desert which offered minimal cover, then basically on single file columns go through the minefields. The Ukrainians cannot do that. Not without air superiority.

    (US Forces going through the minefields in the Kuwaiti desert: An ideal target if enemy artillery would be around.)
    gulfwar1991_wide-314c442c2e0c07d94ab5566be0be1cfc9d391f09-s1100-c50.jpg

    The pressing question is, why did the West push Ukraine into this disaster?Tzeentch
    What disaster? The only disaster are those who think that Ukraine has to achieve a quick victory over a superior enemy, or then it's meaningless to support them. Do these people get bored or what? Does the war become somehow an irritant to them? Luckily the commitment is better than the media portrays it to be.
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    It's a materiel battle, Tzeentch.ssu

    Ah, the next buzzword is introduced, since 'counteroffensive' obviously didn't work out so well.

    If what you're trying to do is convince me that people standing on the sideline fueled by media propaganda can produce an endless supply of hopium, don't bother. I am already aware.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Ah, the next buzzword is introduced, since 'counteroffensive' obviously didn't work out so wellTzeentch
    It's not a buzzword. I gather you have no military training and little knowledge of warfare, tactics or military history in general.

    If what you're trying to do is convince me that people standing on the sideline fueled by media propaganda can produce an endless supply of hopium, don't bother. I am already aware.Tzeentch
    All I'm saying that this war can very well continue for a long time.
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    I gather you have no military training and little knowledge of warfare, tactics or military history in general.ssu

    Wrong on all accounts. Unfortunately for you I even hold an academic degree in military studies. But nice try, I guess.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    Unfortunately for you I even hold an academic degree in military studies.Tzeentch
    Oh, well that is then quite fascinating! Then you understand how stupid the whole idea of Ukraine somehow making a breakthrough to Melitopol or even to the Sea of Azov is. Without air superiority that isn't going to happen.

    Genuinely curious, what did you study in your military studies?
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Then you understand how stupid the whole idea of Ukraine somehow making a breakthrough to Melitopol or even to the Sea of Azov is. Without air superiority that isn't going to happen.ssu

    Of course. That's what I and many others have been saying for months.

    Genuinely curious, what did you study in your military studies?ssu

    Military history and military thinkers, the development of contemporary land, naval and air doctrine, irregular warfare, modern conflicts, etc. I also had the opportunity to follow courses on propaganda (euphemistically called 'information warfare') - very eye-opening.
  • neomac
    1.3k
    I also had the opportunity to follow courses on propaganda (euphemistically called 'information warfare') - very eye-opening.Tzeentch

    What are the textbooks in which you studied it?
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Honestly, I don't recall nor wish to go into most of them. (We studied literature or contemporary doctrine, not textbooks, but I assume that's what you meant)

    I'll say that by far the most influential book, 'eye-opening' if you will, I've read on the matter is Unrestricted Warfare (1999), written by two Chinese colonels.

    When I looked up that link I noticed there's a version out from 2015 that's called 'Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America', which is hilariously ironic since the book analyses the American way of warfare and extrapolates trends that are believed to carry into the future and transform the nature of warfare.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    Of course. That's what I and many others have been saying for months.Tzeentch

    Just too ironic.

    And not just for months, since the very beginning clear arguments have been presented of why it's simply unfeasible for Ukraine to attempt to remove Russia from its former territory by military means.

    At the time the only argument for continued fighting was able to present was that "maybe" Ukraine has some surprise in store.

    And, since the beginning, the question has been to the pro-more-war side of the issue to either explain how Ukraine has a chance of winning military (without invoking magical thinking) or then explain how indefinite warfare benefits Ukraine (in particular if they do all this fighting and lose).

    However, not only is no theory of victory ever presented (for example how to deal with the lack of air power) but even simple questions such as how many lives lost would be worth the territory back if it was feasible likewise proponents of Ukraine policy can't answer.

    That it is simply Ukraine's choice is the answer and we must just take it for granted that Zelensky speaks for all Ukrainians.

    But who doesn't have a choice is Westerners supplying weapons. No actual sense to the project need be presented by Ukraine nor anyone else. Ukraine wants to fight!!

    If they can't "vote with their feet" if they don't actually want to fight as they can't leave, that's called wanting to fight apparently, and if they can't vote as elections are suspended, that's just not only wanting to fight but fighting for democracy.
  • boethius
    2.3k
    When I have the time I'll go through my posts and cite myself explaining that not only does Ukraine have no reasonable chance of winning in military terms but that as soon as that becomes clear Ukraine's "friends" will abandon Ukraine just like we abandoned all our freedom fighting "friends" in Afghanistan and that, just like Afghanistan, they would be blamed for the loss by not "wanting it enough".

    I would compare it to something like a drowning person... A drowning person is extremely dangerous because he can pull you to the depths ... He can simply drown the rescuer.President of Poland, as quoted by Reuters

    The only argument I heard that things will be different in Ukraine is that Ukraine is European (aka. white).

    However, seems to me the scene seems set to play out exactly as before.
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